Daily Archive: 07/14/2010

Jul 14 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Crunch decision due on BP oil test

by Mira Oberman, AFP

1 hr 41 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP and top US government officials faced a tough decision Wednesday on whether to go ahead with a crucial test that could allow the leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well to be sealed.

The pressure test aimed at evaluating the integrity of the wellbore, which stretches down 2.5 miles (four kilometers) below the seabed, involves shutting off the valves on a 75-tonne cap freshly installed on top of the leaking well.

High pressure readings would allow the three valves to remain shut and the well would effectively be sealed, but low ones could mean there is a hole somewhere in the casing of the well where oil is escaping.

Jul 14 2010

Punting the Pundits:

This morning there is a lot of outrage in Editorials and Op-Eds about Sen, Jon Kyl’s statement that the Bush tax cuts haven’t diminished revenue. It starts with the Washington Post editorial that the GOP has no problem extending tax cuts for the rich

Senate Republicans, committed as they are to preventing the debt from mounting further, can’t approve an extension of unemployment benefits because it would cost $35 billion. But they are untroubled by the notion of digging the hole $678 billion deeper by extending President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) about this contradiction. Mr. Kyl’s response is worth examining because of what it says about the GOP’s refusal to practice the fiscal responsibility it preaches.

snip

….. Mr. Kyl trotted out the tired and unsubstantiated argument that the tax cuts for the wealthy must be extended because otherwise “you’re going to clobber small business.” Mr. Wallace persisted: “But, sir, . . .how are you going to pay the $678 billion?” — at which point Mr. Kyl descended into nonsense. “You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” he declared. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to, if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset [the] cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”

Huh? No one’s talking about cutting taxes on the wealthy to stimulate the economy. The issue is whether the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended, adding another $678 billion to the deficit over the next decade. The tax cuts, it’s worth remembering, passed originally in 2001 with the argument that the surplus was so large that rates could be cut with budgetary room to spare. Now that the fiscal picture has deteriorated so badly, the questions remains: How are you going to pay the $678 billion? And if you don’t, how are you going to justify the added damage to an already grim fiscal outlook?  

In his blog, Conscience of a Liberal, Paul Krugman chimes in with the Republican’s Invincible Ignorance

Just in case you had some lingering notion that anyone in the Republican party was fiscally responsible, Mitch McConnell has weighed in in support of Jon Kyl:

   

[T]here’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.

In a way you have to wonder what point there even is in trying to argue here. But anyway, look: it’s been a long time since Morning in America. We’ve now been through two two-term administrations, one of which raised taxes, the other of which cut them. Which looks like it presided over a more vibrant economy?

Krugman up dates at the end telling his readers who complain he is “too partisan”

Update: Also, for those readers who complain that I’m too partisan, that I should admit that there are two sides to the issues, this is a prime example of my problem. How am I supposed to pretend that these are serious people? The facts really do have a well-known liberal bias.

(emphasis mine)

Jul 14 2010

Le Tour: Stage 10

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

And then there were 2.

The reason these elbow and collarbone injuries are such a big deal is that you actually spend a lot of time with your weight on the handlebars.

Today’s 112 mile stage from Chambery to Gap has the one category 1 climb that might change things but is unlikely to since everyone seems to be writing their Champs Elysees scripts and excuses.

Unless Schleck uses it to drop Contador which he keeps threatening to do.

As I mentioned way back a week ago the problem with unlimited racing formulas is that small time gaps tend to magnify and there are not a lot of what NASCAR types call ‘passing opportunities’.  Now sometimes there are flaming chunks of twisted metal and the prospect of seeing that live may suit your Madam Defarge sensibilities and will certainly cement your revolutionary credentials on sport.

If it were popular like the World Cup everyone would be watching.

Jul 14 2010

On This Day in History: July 14

Fête Nationale, or Bastille Day as it is called here in the US, marks the storming of an infamous fortress in Paris and the beginning of the French Revolution. Bastion de Saint-Antoine was built in 1370 during the 100 Years War to defend the east end of Paris and one of the royal palaces. At the time of the battle, the Bastille only held seven prisoners. Most had been removed, the most infamous, the comte de Solages aka the Marquis de Sade, was moved to an insane asylum 10 days before.

Early in the morning, the crowds had stormed the Hôtel des Invalides, gathering arms but without powder which was stored at the Bastille, 30,000 lbs. of gun powder.

The regular garrison consisted of 82 invalides (veteran soldiers no longer suitable for service in the field). It had however been reinforced on 7 July by 32 grenadiers of the Swiss Salis-Samade Regiment from the troops on the Champ de Mars. The walls mounted eighteen eight-pound guns and twelve smaller pieces. The governor was Bernard-René de Launay, son of the previous governor and actually born within the Bastille.

The list of vainqueurs de la Bastille has around 600 names, and the total of the crowd was probably less than one thousand. The crowd gathered outside around mid-morning, calling for the surrender of the prison, the removal of the guns and the release of the arms and gunpowder. Two representatives of the crowd outside were invited into the fortress and negotiations began, and another was admitted around noon with definite demands. The negotiations dragged on while the crowd grew and became impatient. Around 13:30 the crowd surged into the undefended outer courtyard, and the chains on the drawbridge  to the inner courtyard were cut, crushing one unfortunate vainqueur. About this time gunfire began, though some stories state that the Governor had a cannon fire into the crowd killing several women, children, and men turning the crowd into a mob. The crowd seemed to have felt it had been drawn into a trap and the fighting became more violent and intense, while attempts by deputies to organize a cease-fire were ignored by the attackers.

The firing continued, and at 15:00 the attackers were reinforced by mutinous gardes françaises and other deserters from among the regular troops, along with two cannons. A substantial force of Royal Army troops encamped on the nearby Champs de Mars did not intervene. With the possibility of a mutual massacre suddenly apparent Governor de Launay ordered a cease fire at 17:00. A letter offering his terms was handed out to the besiegers through a gap in the inner gate. His demands were refused, but de Launay nonetheless capitulated, as he realized that his troops could not hold out much longer; he opened the gates to the inner courtyard, and the vainqueurs swept in to liberate the fortress at 17:30.

Ninety-eight attackers and one defender had died in the actual fighting. De Launay was seized and dragged towards the Hôtel de Ville in a storm of abuse. Outside the Hôtel a discussion as to his fate began. The badly beaten de Launay shouted “Enough! Let me die!” and kicked a pastry cook named Dulait in the groin. De Launay was then stabbed repeatedly and fell, and his head was sawed off and fixed on a pike to be carried through the streets. The three officers of the permanent Bastille garrison were also killed by the crowd; surviving police reports detail their wounds and clothing. Two of the invalides of the garrison were lynched, but all but two of the Swiss regulars of the Salis-Samade Regiment were protected by the French Guards and eventually released to return to their regiment. Their officer, Lieutenant Louis de Flue, wrote a detailed report on the defense of the Bastille which was incorporated in the logbook of the Salis-Samade and has survived. It is (perhaps unfairly) critical of the dead Marquis de Launay, whom de Flue accuses of weak and indecisive leadership. The blame for the fall of the Bastille would rather appear to lay with the inertia of the commanders of the substantial force of Royal Army troops encamped on the Champs de Mars, who made no effort to intervene when the nearby Hôtel des Invalides or the Bastille were attacked.

Returning to the Hôtel de Ville, the mob accused the prévôt ès marchands (roughly, mayor) Jacques de Flesselles of treachery, and he was assassinated en route to an ostensible trial at the Palais-Royal.

The key to the west portal of the Bastille was presented to Pres, George Washington  by the Marquis de Lafayette on March 17, 1790 and is on display at Mt Vernon.

All that is left of the Bastille is located at the Square Henri-Galli on Boulevard Henri IV. The stones of one of the eight towers were discovered in 1899 during the excavation for the Metro. The footprint is marked by special paving stones along the sidewalk and streets around the Place de la Bastille. The Fossé de Paris, the ditch behind the Bastille, is now a marina for pleasure boats.

Jul 14 2010

Prime Time

Major League Baseball All-Star Game!

Explain to me why I should be watching this exhibition again?  Am I scouting for stretch and playoff trades?

As a Mets fan I’m content to work off injuries and dangle our bait and satisfied when everyone plays to their potential.

And we’re competing against the hated Braves and not the upstart Phillies, what could be better than that?

The reason for Junior League ascendancy of late is simply that since the designated hitter rule every single game they play is an exhibition unless it’s in a National League park during (shudder) inter-League play.

Now, about those wild cards and short play-offs, and there’s that lowering the mound thing…

Every record since the live ball is suspect.

Not Baseball

  • AMCTin Cup
  • ESPN– Sweden @ US Women’s Football for the Cup deprived.
  • History– 10 pm Top Shot from Sunday.
  • SciFiWarehouse 13, last week’s season premier and a brand new episode.
  • Turner ClassicTo Be or Not to Be, the good Jack Benny/Carol Lombard one not Mel and Ann Bancroft’s homage.
  • Food– 10 pm New Chopped.

Later-

Jon 6/28, Stephen 6/30.  Letterman, Kristin Chenoweth and M.I.A..  Alton, Crabs.

Jul 14 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP praying cap will end Gulf oil nightmare

by Mira Oberman AFP

Tue Jul 13, 12:32 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP was poised Tuesday to test whether a huge cap can hold back crude flooding up from a well below the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, praying an end to the 13-week oil leak may be in sight.

Crucial seismic surveys were being carried out first after underwater robots successfully lowered a 30-foot-tall (10-meter) device known as a capping stack on top of the ruptured wellhead late Monday.

On the 85th day of the worst US oil spill ever, engineers were to start a series of pressure and integrity tests around midday (1700 GMT) to see if the huge cap, weighing some 75 tonnes, has indeed choked off the leak.